History of the McCaffery - 1970


On 1 January 1970, USS McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida. Commanding Officer - CDR A.F. Martin

On 24 January, COMCRUDESFLOT came aboard for a change of command ceremony.
Captain Wilson relieved Commodore Kanakanui as COMDESDIV 162.

On 27 January, McCaffery got underway for Cape Kennedy and conducted man overboard, engineering casualty, and damage control drills. The nuclear guided missile submarine Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) joined McCaffery for exercises. McCaffery's duties were to act as telemetry platform, communications relay station, and observation station for the demonstration and shakedown operations (DASO) of the recently overhauled Daniel Webster. On 31 January, the number 2 service generator became inoperative due to a class "C" fire in the number 2 ship's service switchboard, McCaffery returned to port. On 3 February, McCaffery returned to witness the launch of a Poseidon missile from a missile test ship, Observation Island (AG-154). This was the second successful launch of a Poseidon missile from a surface ship. On 6 February, McCaffery hosted fifty visitors to witness the launch of a Polaris missile from the submerged Daniel Webster. The launch was declared a success, and McCaffery returned to Mayport on 7 February.

On 16 February, McCaffery departed for duties as school ship for Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Florida, and arrived on 18 February. She operated in and out of port with submarines and as a float trainer for students of the Fleet Sonar School. The students and instructors manned ASW stations and, working with ship's company, conducted and trained the students in all phases of anti-submarine warfare. McCaffery completed her duties and training in this area, and returned to Mayport on 28 February for a tender availability with Yosemite (AD-19). The tender availability ended on 21 March. On 24 March, McCaffery conducted operations in the Cape Kennedy area for DASO of Henry Clay (SSBN-625). There was a launch of a Polaris missile from a submerged Henry Clay, and McCaffery served as a telemetry platform and observation station for two hundred guests. On 10 April, there was another Polaris missle launch observed by 157 military and civilian guests.

On 15 April, McCaffery rendezvoused with Independence (CVA-62) for exercises that included lifeguard and plane-guard duties, and the transfer of personnel between Independence and McCaffery by helicopter and highline. This transfer gave over fifty crew members of both ships a chance to observe duty aboard a carrier vs a destroyer. McCaffery completed operations with Independence, and returned to Mayport on 24 April. On 8 May, Rear Admiral R.O. Middleton, COMCRUDESFLOT 12, and Captain E.C. Kenyon, COMDESRON 16, conducted personnel and materiel inspection.

On 12 May, McCaffery got underway to join a large amphibious exercise, Exotic Dancer IV, off the coast of North Carolina, which involved Marine, Air Force, and Naval units from all over the east coast. McCaffery, acting as a screening unit, escorted the force to Onslow Beach, North Carolina, where she anchored as a fire support station for simulated gunfire support exercises. During this period, COMDESDIV 162 was aboard McCaffery. On 16 May, McCaffery was relieved by Noa (DD-841), and COMDESDIV 162 transferred to Noa. McCaffery returned to Mayport.

On 1 June, HMS Revenge (S27), launched a Polaris missile while submerged, and McCaffery provided telemetry and communications linkups. Also, she hosted over two hundred local and foreign visitors to watch the launch. There was a second Polaris launch on 9 June, after which McCaffery returned to Mayport.

Discussions began to surface that McCaffery conceivably could be decommissioned due to discussions of military budget and armament cutbacks. On 20 June, preparations began for inactivation, which would commence on 6 July. On 2 July, McCaffery entered a period of modified cadre status. The crew was significantly reduced in number, and the number of officers dropped to nine. However, on 3 July, all messages relating to possible inactivation were ordered put aside pending further decisions by the type commander.

On 6-8 July, McCaffery underwent an Inspection and Survey (INSURV) by a sub-board of the Navy Board of Inspection and Survey at Mayport. This inspection was designed to determine the ship's ability to continue normal operations, and to locate any problem areas which would require further attention or expenditures. Following this inspection, the ship was officially declared fit for further service. The odds were better that McCaffery would not be decommissioned.

McCaffery remained in port July, August, and September. On 25 July, there was a gala party and cake cutting ceremony at the Enlisted Men's Club at Mayport to mark the 25th anniversary of the ship's commissioning. On 14 September, McCaffery received a message that she would not be decommissioned, and she was to prepare for normal operations. On 28 September, McCaffery began a tender availalility with Sierra (AD-18) at Mayport. Her tender availability was completed on 25 October, and McCaffery got underway for the Jacksonville Operating Area the next day, with COMDESRON 16 embarked, for Exercise Sitting Duck IV. This exercise sank the ex-USS Parle (DE-708) by aircraft from Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville and NAS Cecil Field. McCaffery's primary role was to serve as a safety ship and communication platform. If the aircraft's bombs and missiles were unsuccessful in sinking Parle, McCaffery's five inch guns would have been used to sink the DE. However, McCaffery's assistance was not necessary, and McCaffery returned to Mayport on 28 October. She began a restricted availability with Jacksonville Shipyards to repair the number two ship's service turbo generator. Following these repairs, McCaffery spent the remainder of the year in an upkeep status at Mayport.

On 31 December 1970, McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida.

SOURCE: USS McCAFFERY -- 1945-1974 by Edward W. (Bill) Maslak